A Blue- Print Economic and Political Multi-facet Strategy to Defeat Global Terrorism and Instability: A Global Security Strategy in the Muslim World for the 21st Century.
by Mohamed Ibrahim
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
The key global security challenge of our time is and will be about how states, civil societies and agencies can defeat, prevent and stem the flow of international terrorism. A comprehensive multi-facet resolution to this challenge in the short-term and long term will be critical to defeating this enormous challenge of our time. Left alone or failure to meet this challenge with a coordinated comprehensive global strategy involving the Muslim world will result in disastrous consequence for global peace and security.
To comprehend and meet the security needs of these extra-ordinary times, community of nations and societies must ask the following searching fundamental questions – and provide answers and solutions that will be critical to our common security and prosperity:
1) Why is there an increase in terrorism globally? When billions are being spent in political capital, economic and military to defeat it.
2) Is the Post War Global Structure that was formed fit for purpose to fight this struggle of our time?
3) Are Muslim leaders and Governments partly (unintended) responsible for failing to control or address the underlining social, political and economic conditions that exacerbate violent extremism and desperation at the local level?
4) Is Western Foreign Policy part of the problem or Solution?
To provide clear comprehensive answers to the above questions one must look at these questions with an open mind without false pride or in-denials about past security responses to this challenge. It is vital that such audiences and policy makers are prepared to swallow pride in an effort to comprehensively tackle global terrorism.
This is crucial because these terrorist actors and individuals threatened not just innocent lives but the confidence and sanctity of life, and community of nations must be prepared to face difficult and sensitive questions.
As community leaders and activists while we attempt to prevent violent extremism at the local level, putting our lives in danger while hiding from inconvenient truths about global dynamics -is not real leadership - because some of those actors or actions being put on the table by various policy makers across the world to tackle the issue exacerbate further terrorism rather than reduce it by providing the oxygen it needs at the grass-root level.
I really welcome the Somali Against Violent Extremism initiative that is strongly gathering pace Internationally - It's much needed internal issue within Somalia and we must do all we can to support it. However, the parameters of engagement or causes of extremism are related to military, economic and social injustice, which drive Jihadis or terrorist to resort to acts of terror legitimised through religious means.
We can condemn all we like about acts of terrorism - but facts don't change - Western countries are in complete denial about the effects and role of their own foreign policies - and we can remain quite about it, but it does not help global security and peace – We can provide condemnation when-ever there is a terrorist act, which is the right thing to do, but it misses the point, because our global leaders are failing to address some of the key factors that contribute to violent extremism.
Analogy from the late Palestinian Professor Edward Said
"When you have your hands engaged in the pie, you can hardly bring an effective solution to the problem”
Waa adoo yiri tuug baan ahaye tuug kale hala qabto.
At that time he was talking about an Israel Government who was (to him) pretending they were looking for peace but their actions on the ground said otherwise. However, it perfectly fits with this problem.
As a diaspora community when one of our own commits such crime - it's fair, right and proportionate to condemn and disassociate such incident from Islam and community - However, you may find the structural causes of extremism go far beyond, are far -reaching - and strategically fluid.
This means fighting the issue with the same ideas and means won't wash or resolve the issue anymore. As it happens it's increasing the problem. The propensity of anger and social conditions that exists in many Muslim countries far out-weight any attempt to combat the problem, hence why our global leaders have resorted to containment policy, fly few F16s over the mountains and throw in the odd NGO to pick up the pieces, to what is a remarkably a tricky historical problem that require long-lasting strategic plan that seeps the oxygen out of global terrorism.
A new thinking and Blueprint Plan is needed much similar to the Marshal Plan that rebuilt Japan and Germany in the post war period.
The conditions that led to Germany and Japan becoming international terror states with global ambitions in the 1930s now exists in Muslim countries that export or harper terrorism intentionally or unintentionally.
Such characteristic include bad leadership, weak and unresponsive governance, lack of justice in legal and economic sense and abject poverty - young People unemployed and society illiterate at large, and inability to reinforce law and order or control its borders effectively.
Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and libya comes to mind. These countries are broken at the local and institutional level and have gone through periods of colonialism, dictatorships and half- attempted democracies, which has left decades of social, economic and political experimentations that has failed its societies and their place in the world. Due to structural governance related factors beyond this article, they have failed in their bid to effectively to compete in the Industrialisation, Globalisation and Capitalisation era of global economic development.
Compare these countries to more prosperous and well- managed Muslim majority states like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey. The only difference is that these countries are led reasonably well by their leaders, contain literate societies and there is wealth of prosperity for the locals which enhances opportunities and development. Abject poverty is non-existence among the locals although relative poverty is an issue in some of these countries. It is my view once a Government effectively meets the needs of their citizens reasonably well, they will have less time, aspiration and enthusiasm to join distance conflicts because they have much to lose. The conditions that alienate young people and society into political desperation don't exist - but they do in other countries highlighted above.
As Muslims, we cannot also be in denial about our role in failing to control or provide effective leadership to our citizens at the local level. These failings have also had profound contribution to the rise of violent extremism. Although global issues are intrinsically linked, we cannot blame Western countries for our internal failings to provide opportunities for our youths, religious, political governance and economic leadership that comprehensively meets their daily needs at the local level.
To solve the issue of international terrorism we have to be much more strategic in our plans and ideas - doing the same thing and expecting a different result is not going to wash.
Further more, the international community must reform the mechanism that was intended to serve the world equally. Currently, the UN, WTO, World Bank and IMF - all serve the interest of bigger nations to prosper - alienating a huge chunk of the Muslim world at the decision making level.
For instance, It is worth noting there are 1.6 billion Muslim populations globally - and there is no one Muslim country seated at the UN Security Council to veto, abstain or influence decisions that have far-reaching consequences. Therefore, the check and balance needed for international participation and influence is none-existence. Effectively, the structural global governance that was created after the post war period does not involve Muslim countries at the decision-making capacity.
No wonder then large percentage of Muslims globally who are peaceful and moderates have lost faith in those systems as a protection and a voice. It is also not surprising to see some sections alienated and misled, unfortunately, taking matters to their own hands through violent means. Although one cannot be apologist to their evils acts, it is important to state the facts as they appear on the ground and internationally.
The causes of violent extremism are complex, long standing and historical. The solutions must be far more strategic, hence why I advocate A Marshal Plan, which has now successfully contributed to a vibrant plural societies and economies in Germany and Japan today.
I would call the Plan The Muhammed Plan. Muslims have, of course, special affinity to prophet Muhammad (PBUH) so in order to generate a buy in and participation naming a plan after him would win hearts and minds among global Muslims.
The Muhammed Plan would have specific Global Fund supported by UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Europe, and other rich nations - to redevelop and re-shape structurally nations and societies (effected by the issue) that have lagged behind socially, economically, politically for decades.
I am providing this analysis because to do otherwise or repeat the same dogma and response used for the last 30 years would be negligent and dereliction of duty – because at the heart of it, the issue of terrorism threatened the sanctity and confidence of civilisation as it we know it. Further more, as a human being my ultimate concern is that the consequence of failure to effectively deal with this issue will result in the clash of civilisation once predicated by the renowned scholar Samuel Huntingdon in his book The Clash Civilisation.
I hope this analysis is reasonable, proportionate and forward -looking to help meet the global security challenges of the 21st century.
Chair of London Somali Youth Forum